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UK Savile police "staggered" at extent of inquiry

LONDON, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Police investigating alleged sexual abuse of young girls by the former BBC presenter Jimmy Savile said on Thursday they were pursuing over 400 lines of inquiry involving some 300 victims.

``It's quite staggering,'' said inquiry leader, Commander Peter Spindler.

He told a news conference that all bar two of the potential victims were women and that the vast majority of alleged offences involved Savile, who died last year.

Police had spoken to 130 victims to date and recorded 114 reports of sexual assault or serious sexual assault, mostly against Savile. No arrests have been made so far.

Spindler did not say who else might have been involved but lawyers representing some of the victims, several of whom were as young as eight when the abuse occurred, said their clients had indicated a paedophile ring involving other celebrities had existed at the BBC during the height of Savile's fame in the 1970s and 80s.

The BBC has been thrown into disarray by accusations it helped cover up sexual abuse by Savile, and has struggled to explain why one of its own shows killed an investigation into it. At this stage there was no evidence of an organised paedophile ring, Spindler added.

(Reporting by Michael Holden, Writing by Stephen Addison Editing by Maria Golovnina)